The Rivers State Police Command has said a total of 31 persons died following a stampede during a stampede at the venue of an outreach programme by a new generation church in Port Harcourt on Saturday morning.
Police spokesperson, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the casualty figure.
The church known as ‘Kings Assembly’ is located in the GRA axis of the metropolis, but the programme was at the Polo Club in the Rivers State capital to accomodate the usual large congregation.
It was gathered that many people, had gone to the event on a promise of food and gift items to mark Church’s fourth anniversary, and the crowd overstretched the venue, resulting in stampede.
A source told the Punch that some of the invitees arrived since Friday evening, while others arrived as early as 6.30am on Saturday morning for an event that was supposed to start by 9am.
He said most of the victims were taken to the nearby military hospital in Port Harcourt
“As I speak with you, I have counted 21 corpse at the military hospital. I heard some were taken to a different facility.
“This is not the first time the church is holding this programme, but the crowd since yesterday (Friday) till this morning is much.
“It was said that gift items and free food would be served. It is very painful,” the source who pleaded anonymity stated.
It was learnt that the small gate leading into the venue was pushed open on Saturday morning to enable them occupy good positions leading to a stampede.
The acting spokesperson of the state Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident, but could not give a figure just yet.
“I am doing a press statement on the incident. It would be released soon,” she said.